Minnesota confirms an omicron case in a resident who traveled from New York City

Minnesota officials say they have identified an omicron COVID-19 case in the state, marking the second confirmed case of the highly transmissible variant in the U.S. in as many days.

Lab testing identified the case in a Hennepin County resident who had recently returned from New York City, the Minnesota Department of Health announced on Thursday.

“This news is concerning, but it is not a surprise,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement. “We know that this virus is highly infectious and moves quickly throughout the world. Minnesotans know what to do to keep each other safe now — get the vaccine, get tested, wear a mask indoors, and get a booster.”

Officials said the individual is an adult male who had been vaccinated and took a COVID-19 test on Nov. 24 after developing mild symptoms (which have since resolved) on Nov. 22.

The individual reported traveling to New York City and attending the Anime NYC 2021 convention at the Javits Center from Nov. 19-21, officials said, adding that Minnesota epidemiologists will continue investigating the case in collaboration with New York City and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health department officials said that Minnesota’s surveillance program is one of the strongest in the nation, making it likely that it would be among the first states to find the variant.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the discovery further underscores the importance of taking steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the state. Those include getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible, wearing well-fitting masks in indoor public settings and crowded outdoor settings, getting tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 and frequent handwashing.

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Minnesota’s announcement comes a day after California reported the first omicron case in the U.S., in an individual who had recently returned from South Africa.

This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.

Source: NPR

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